Russia’s ruler Putin is increasingly losing allies. Now even Armenia’s Prime Minister Pashinyan publicly snubbed the Kremlin ruler at the CSTO summit in Yerevan. How it came to this.

When Kazakhstan was shaken by bloody riots at the beginning of the year and demonstrators demanded the fall of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Russian President Vladimir Putin generously came to the aid of his loyal ally. Under the banner of the “Collective Security Treaty Organisation”, or CSTO for short, he sent a rapid reaction force to the neighboring country. In the end, over 200 people were dead. The CSTO had proved its deadly power against civilians.

The heads of state and government of the military alliance founded in 2002 from former Soviet republics met this week for the defense summit in the Armenian capital Yerevan. In addition to Russia and Kazakhstan, the CSTO also includes Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Putin visiting friends?

Host Nikol Pashinyan, the Prime Minister of Armenia, not only demonstratively distanced himself from the Kremlin ruler when the gentlemen lined up for a group photo, but reportedly even refused to sign the final document.

“These are clear withdrawal movements,” explains military expert Nico Lange to FOCUS online. In the Russian neighborhood, many thought about how to proceed. There is great uncertainty and no enthusiasm for the Russian war against Ukraine.

“There is no longer any trust in Russia,” emphasizes Lange. He even sees “signs of Russian weakness” in the events in Yerevan. The distance is now visible. “Putin no longer has many allies, basically only Belarus, North Korea and Iran,” says Lange.

In addition, the Armenians, in particular, see themselves let down by Putin in their dispute with Azerbaijan. “They have the feeling that they don’t get any more support,” says Lange.

“In the conflict with Azerbaijan, Armenia has relied on Russia as a protecting power since the 1990s,” emphasizes Alexander Libman, Professor of Political Science with a focus on Eastern Europe and Russia at Freie Universität Berlin. “That explains why Armenia is part of the CSTO and the Eurasian Economic Union at all.” Russian armed forces are stationed in Armenia.

“However, Russia has been disappointing Armenia’s expectations lately,” Libman said. “The second Nagorno-Karabakh war ended in defeat on the Armenian side, with Russian peacekeepers having to guarantee the ceasefire.”

Since then, Armenia and Azerbaijan have been on the brink of war. “This year, too, there were several incidents directly involving the Armenian armed forces,” recalls Libman. “However, the CSTO and Russia remained passive.”

From Armenia’s point of view, Russia is not fully fulfilling its obligations as a protecting power. Unlike, for example, at the beginning of the year in Kazakhstan. “That explains Armenia’s attitude.”

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